Monday, 9 May 2016

Day's day on a beautiful day at Farnham.

Jimmy Day produced a magnificent all-round performance to lead Camberley to an emphatic opening-day victory against Farnham on the hottest day of the year so far.

Day's 78-ball 109 not out anchored the visitors' innings of 317/9 from their 50 overs, before a sparkling new-ball spell helped reduce the hosts to 15/3.

Farnham did put up a spirited recovery, but Paul Stephens' four wickets saw Camberley to a comfortable 85-run win.

After a mixed preseason consisting of one win, one loss and one washout, captain Max Shoveller won the toss and elected to bat on a belting wicket with the sun beating down. He began the league season in typically Shoveller-like style, punching the first ball of the innings to the point boundary for four.

However, shortly after another delivery was sent to the fence, the skipper dragged one on to his stumps when looking for another booming drive and was dismissed for eight.

If Farnham thought the wicket would slow the run-rate they were sorely disappointed as Tim Burns came in and immediately took advantage of a quick outfield as he pierced the gaps at regular intervals.

Burns, along with the ever-watchful Todd Hutcheson, made the most of some extremely average fielding to push the run rate above six an over, before a rare slash outside off stump saw Hutcheson's demise for 34.

That wicket brought Day to the crease and he began in trademark style, picking off the singles with ease. While he saw himself in, Burns went through the gears at an almighty rate. Having already passed 50, the switch in Burns' head had most definitely been flicked.

All of a sudden it seemed that every ball deserved to go the distance. The 25-year-old Australian's innings comprised 12 fours and four sixes - the pick of which cannoned around a few trees before landing on chairman Keith Halsey's car.

As the ball disappeared to all parts, it looked like Burns was going to be the first beneficiary of the newly-introduced incentive scheme which rewards century makers with a £60 bar tab, but he fell just nine runs short when going for another maximum. Still, 91 from 65 balls was not to be sniffed at.

His dismissal at 155/3 was followed by partnerships of 41 and 40 as Day combined well with Marty Kain and Kyle Philander. Kain, returning as overseas pro after a brilliant season in 2010, displayed some quality shots before unfortunately getting bowled for 25 after inside-edging the ball into his pad.

Philander's dismissal for 14 was the first of five wickets for Farnham medium-pacer Ben Ungaretti, and saw the start of a spell where Camberley lost 4/37 to be pegged back to 273/8 with five overs to go.

Having serenely passed fifty at a run-a-ball, Day pressed the accelerator with devastating results as the innings came to a close. He brought up his century with a hammered boundary down the ground, and dominated a partnership of 44 with Chris Pike, who hung around gamely before being cleaned up on the penultimate ball of the innings for two.

Day had timed his knock perfectly and never looked in any real trouble as he guided his side to a very strong position at tea.

That position became even stronger shortly afterwards and Day was at the forefront once more. Sharing the new ball with the equally impressive Philander, Day beat the outside edge on numerous occasions as the hosts struggled to deal with both bowlers' pace and hostility.

It was Philander who struck first - the young South African taking the outside edge of opener Jonny Matthews' bat with the score on seven. No further runs had been added when Day nipped one back through the defence of James Berry, and when Day hung on to a sharp chance at slip to give Philander his second wicket, the hosts' innings was in tatters.

There then followed a partnership of 97 as Farnham threatened an unlikely comeback. Some positive strokeplay from George Hellyer and loose bowling from both Pike and Kain meant Camberley needed some magic.

And magic is what they got as Hutcheson produced a stunning stumping off Burns to remove the dangerous Hellyer, who had struck 11 fours and a six in his 55-ball 62.

Burns' bowling was almost as aggressive as his batting, but his spell of 1 for 15 from five overs had restored some control for the visitors.

While he whistled numerous deliveries past the batsmen's faces, Stephens settled into his usual mix of tricky length balls and deceptive yorkers.

Stephens, presumably buzzing off his tits after smashing a free hit into the car park when batting, produced a wonderful spell, taking three quick wickets to seemingly finish the match as a contest.

At 137/7, it looked as though the end was nigh, but a spirited partnership of 71 between George Dale and Chris Terry threatened one last twist.

The partnership was ended when Stephens, presumably still buzzing off his tits after his three wickets, took a quality running catch at long on to remove Dale for 64. The wicket was just reward for Sam Holmes who bowled with great control and probably deserved more than just the one wicket.

There was still time for Terry to launch Pike for an enormous six over the car park at square leg, however he could only skew straight up in the air next ball when trying to repeat the trick.

The game was brought to a fitting conclusion shortly afterwards as Stephens speared in a perfect yorker to clean up Rob Goldsworthy, giving him even more reason, as if he needed it, to buzz off his tits.

It should be noted that Farnham had a number of players missing and were slightly lacking in all departments as a result. Camberley can go away satisfied with a great result but will know there are certain aspects which need to be improved if they're to continue winning.

Honourable mention to Steve Hulks, who tried to protect his knee and hide on the boundary all day, but only succeeded in being the busiest fielder by a country mile.

Honourable mention also to Todd Hutcheson who managed to cock up the team song despite being the only person who knows the words.

All in all, a great start. Stand up for the Camberley.